Sunday, July 29, 2007


When I agreed to help out the Ward 2 Challenge for National Night Out, I envisioned arriving at the Netherwood train station with a bag full of neatly-trimmed irises, ready for planting.

But one look at the target site made me realize there was more to be done.

The existing plantings, at least as of Thursday, were overgrown with weeds and weed trees, some two or three feet high. So before planting, there had to be weeding.

Hmmm. I have some great weeding tools, but since I planned to hop the train to Netherwood with my irises, I had to rethink that idea for weeding.

One of my best tools is a long-handled Wilkinson Sword steel swoe, with a sharp blade at the business end.
The other one is a Korean ho-mi, a hand tool with a leaf-shaped blade whose point can pierce the most stubborn clump of weeds. I pictured trying to get on the train with these lethal-looking weapons.

Even if I got a ride to Netherwood, the thought of weeding for hours there when I have plenty of undone weeding at home gave me pause.

Then there is the question of who will remove the debris once the weeds are pulled. A woman who said she worked for NJ Transit told me and Maria that the Parking Authority takes care of maintaining the grounds. Indeed, the lawn was very neatly trimmed, but my experience has been that guys who like to ride lawnmowers do not always look kindly on digging out weeds (unless there is some behemoth machine to run while doing it).

So volunteers would have to sort out the foxtail grass from the lily turf, and then get someone to take away the pulled weeds. I’m wondering what I have got myself into.

As if these issues weren’t enough, the Board of Education has now scheduled a special meeting for the same night as the Ward 2 Challenge. The meeting notice talks about personnel, the superintendent’s search and board structure. Intriguing. Talk about a challenge – this one involves the entire school district.

Even though I am now thinking my simple offer to donate irises is falling into the category of “no good deed goes unpunished,” I decide everything will work out somehow. The train station will be beautified. We will find out what the special meeting is all about. And NJ Transit will not call for Homeland Security to deal with an elderly lady wielding sharp objects on the three-minute ride from the main station to Netherwood.

--Bernice Paglia


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